WHAT'S IT GONNA BE?
Will Pittsburgh finally figure it out and make it back to the Super Bowl? Can the Bengals finally win a Playoff game? Will the makeover in Cleveland help the Browns become relevant again? Do the Ravens have one last Super Bowl push left? Questions dominate the AFC North coming into the 2018 season.
Pittsburgh came up a few plays short from making it to the AFC Championship game after a stunning loss at home to Jacksonville last year. They return one of the most talented rosters in the league and have all the pieces in place but most avoid injuries and off the field distractions in order to remain focused on their ultimate goal.
Baltimore played well enough to make the Playoffs in 2017 but had their postseason ticket ripped away by division rival Cincinnati in the final moments of the regular season. The Ravens are still an experienced team composed of veterans looking for a championship to validate their careers and that motivation will make Baltimore a tough team to contend with once again.
The Bengals seem to be trapped in a capsule that will only let them progress but so far. For the most part, it's been the same group of players, who play well enough to be in Playoff contention but either fall short of the postseason or find every way possible to lose once they get there, as evidenced by their 5 consecutive Playoff losses from 2011-2015. Now after missing the Playoffs the last two years, Cincinnati has to figure out how to rise above mediocrity yet again.
One win in the last 32 regular season games is enough to drive anyone insane and I think it's fair to say that complete insanity will consume the organization and city, if Cleveland goes through the motions once again this year. But that shouldn't be the case after Cleveland made a huge splash in free agency, despite not fully capitalizing on what could have been an excellent NFL Draft to put the icing on the cake.
AFC NORTH OFF SEASON GRADES
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Season Preview - September 7, 2018
Preseason View - August 6, 2018